Report: Two Larger iPhones Coming This Year

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reportedly has two new iPhones coming out this year, both of which will have larger displays than any previous model it has released. One is a 4.7-inch model that will release in the fourth-quarter of this year, and the other is a 5.5-inch version, set to release later in the same quarter. Mass production for the 4.7-inch one will begin in July, while the 5.5-inch version will begin in September. All of this is according to the Japanese website EMSOne, which cites a Taiwanese publication called Industrial and Commercial Times as the source of the information.

Though a single report like this may sound a little suspect, it echoes many other rumors and reports, including on made by Reuters last week, which suggested Apple could begin mass producing 4.7-inch screens as early as May, with the 5.5-inch version potentially being delayed due to supply chain issues.

Steve Milunovich, an analyst with UBS, suggested last month that the 4.7-inch iPhone “seems certain” to release this year, while the 5.5-inch model “may or may not launch at the same time and could be of the same resolution (lower pip), which would help app developers.”

Both of those new models of iPhones would be larger than any current version. For years, iPhones sported 3.5-inch screens, but with the release of the iPhone 5, it moved to a 4-inch screen that extended the height of the display enough to make room for an extra row of icons on its home screen.

While many people like phones with larger screens, these iPhones would pose some issues for developers, who would have to update their apps with new graphics to accommodate the extra screen space.┬áBut people clearly like large phones. Android phones, for instance, come in all shapes and sizes, including a “phablet” size that sits somewhere between the size of a smartphone and a tablet, generally between 5 and 6.9 inches. The rumored 5.5-inch iPhone would qualify as a phablet.

Apple, meanwhile, has said kept its lips sealed. If history is any guide, it will announce the phone or phones in a press event later this year. The new iPhone model(s) will then release several months later, giving developers time to tweak their apps for the new hardware.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has been under pressure from investors recently to release a new revolutionary product along the lines of the iPhone or iPad. The only response he’s made so far was to promise to The Wall Street Journal that Apple will enter “new product categories” in 2014. Speculation on what that means has centered on a new version of the Apple TV and a smartwatch.

So, how likely is it that Apple is set to introduce two new iPhone sizes this year? Pretty likely. For the past couple of years, Apple has had a particularly leaky ship when it comes to keeping their new products under wraps. Surely it’s hard for them to maintain secrecy when the company is so large and so dependent on part makers scattered around the world. With the sheer number of rumors all agreeing on new 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone models, it would almost be more surprising if Apple didn’t release at least one of them this year.

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